Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Where can we put our guns?

Soldiers who are supposed be in the barracks are patrolling the streets, is that following the guidelines? Did we import 3 billions worth of weapons? Did we have a military agreement with the Americans that invites them on our soil? Violations of the Code of Conduct are being carried out by the old regime, not us. Our activities are only political, and they are within the guidelines.

So, carrying weapons and raising money is allowed?
So, where do we keep our guns? Peasants carry guns and also till their farms. They don't let our militia stay in one place, and if they do they are accused of setting up a military camp. They don't let us carry them, what kind of Code of Conduct is this? And the army is allowed to go into the alleys with guns and carry out searches in all kinds of places. About raising money: the Code of Conduct prohibits forced extortion, if people give us money voluntarily it doesn't say we can't take it.

Isn't it impossible not to give money to a party that is armed?
It used to be difficult to get in touch with our party. Now we have an office where anyone can contact us. And if there is proof, anyone can come and tell us we have done something wrong.

So, you have followed the Code of Conduct to the letter?
We don't say we have followed it 100 percent. Mistakes may have been made, but these are negligible. The main thing is that a party engaged in an armed struggle has come to the negotiating table and to do that it has put forth a few conditions. Even our leader, Comrade Prachanda has admitted to some mistakes, criticised those instances and apologised. What you have to understand is that we have come to the talks after laying down our arms, not after giving them up.

How about abductions?
Who has been abducted? You have to understand that first. We have taken action against fake Maoists who have extorted people. The UML cadre are pretending to be Maoists in order to tarnish our image. How do you expect us to react only politically against such people?

Is it possible to negotiate with a government with whom you say you have reached a strategic culminating point?
It would be a big mistake to think that we have come to negotiate after reaching the culminating point. We agreed to talks because we felt that using the weapons we took up to empower the people would invite disaster. If the government or the Royal Nepali Army thinks we should give up our weapons, they are mistaken. We will give our weapons to the people, to the government constituted through a constituent assembly.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)